on the needles

Sunday, January 01, 2006

2005 Books

Many bloggers out there are posting lists of their finished objects for 2005. I would have a hard time doing that since I didn't really keep track of everything I made this year! I gave away the vast majority of the things I made so it would probably take me an hour to remember them all. So instead - in the spirit of my other blogging home Knit the Classics - I am presenting my list of books I read this year. Non-fiction is in green.

1.Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde (excellent as usual)
2.Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (a good book but didn't live up to it's hype)
3. Lizzie by Frank Spierling (about Lizzie Borden - not a very good book but I have always been fascinated with that case - probably because i heard about it as a kid and freaky stuff you hear when you are little seems to stick with you)
4. Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding (this book was okay - a bit of a guilty pleasure I guess like watching episodes of Breaking Bonaduce or something)
5.Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the People's Temple by Deborah Layton (another gruesome event that I learned about as a child - I have never forgotten the news footage I saw of those poor people lying dead in the hot sun - this book was sad mostly because it revealed the desperate emptiness that leads people to join cults)
6. The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory (another slightly fluffy book but a darn good read nonetheless)
7. The Children's Blizzard by David Larkin (this was about the freak storm that killed so many people in 1888 - another story I learned about as a child - probably from watching Little House on the Prairie! - a good book but a bit too much on the technical side)
8. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (liked this one alot - sort of an un-put-downable read - great story telling)
9. The Fiend Inhuman by John Maclaughlin Grey (I'm a bit ambivalent about this one - it started off slow and some of the writing was too obviously "writerly" if that makes sense but the overall story was very good)
10.Conclave by Roberto Pazzi (I had high hopes for this one - who wouldn't like a story about conclave process getting bogged down - what an excellent opprotunity to explore all kinds of issues - but the story itself was flat and I ended up just hoping it would be over soon so I could read something else!)
11.Diana's Nightmare: The Family by somebody I can't even remember (okay I'm coming out of the closet on this one - I read just about every book on Princess Diana I can find - it's an obsession, I admit it! - this book was about as good as you would imagine)
12. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Anne Burns (I liked this book in spite of myself - it is really too "writerly" as well but you couldn't help but like it)
13. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman: An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aidan (I shouldn't even admit to reading this book - it was pretty awful - I'm on an endless quest to read a good Austen sequel)
14. Fitzwillaim Darcy, Gentleman: Duty and Desire by Pamela Adian (see above except this was even more far fetched than the first! - that said I probably will read the last one - I can't help myself!)
15. Queen Victoria's Children by John Van Der Kiste (great book despite the errors the authors sometimes lets sneak by him)
16. Princess Victoria Melita by John Van Der Kiste (great book again - fascinating history)
17. Middlemarch by George Eliot (this was a re-read and even better the second time around - this book would make my top 25 of all time for sure)
18. Lost Prince: The Unsolved Mystery of Kaspar Hauser by Jeffrey Moussaieff (another crazy story I heard of in childhood and believe me there is much more to the story than is usually told! - this was an excellent book which proved the story to be true and that he actually was the hereditary Prince of Baden - with real evidence not just surmise)
19. City of Light by Lauren Belfer (I don't usually read stories with an American theme so this was a departure - it was good but predicatable)
20. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (another re-read and top 25 of all time book - run to the sotre and get your copy now!)
21. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling (I amazed my family by reading this book in three days - but seriously, we all know Harry Potter is literary crack! You can't help but be addicted.)
22. Diana: The Last Word by Simone Simmons (my other addiction - all I can say is that I hope this really is the last word from this "friend" of Princess Diana - most of this book is BS)
23. The Lost Fortune of the Tsars by William Clarke (I was hoping this book would be more interesting - certainly full of facts but a pretty blah read)
24. The Firm by Penny Junor (another Royal Family book by a famous suck up of an author - many grains of salt taken with this book)
25. The Lost King of France by Deborah Cadbury (this book was awesome - I learned tons of new things and it was well written)
26. Nectar From a Stone by Jane Guill (this was a middling book - liked the characters but the writing was too self-conscious)
27. The Rose of York: Love and War by Sandra Worth (a terrible book about Richard III - please! give me a break here & try throwing in some reality next time)
28. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (this was a re-read and better the second time around - the psychology in this book is really deep)
29. A Hapsburg Tragedy: Crown Prince Rudolph by Judith Listowel (a painfully boring book - how could the Mayerling tragedy be made so boring?? - please someone write a good book on this subject!)
30. Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier (this was a great book - I could hardly put it down!)
31. The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier (not as good as Angels but still a great read)
32. Afterimage by Helen Humphreys (way too "writerly" - could have been a great book because I liked the characters & plot but something about the writng was too precious)
33. The Illuminator by Brenda Rickman Vantrease (I liked this book even though it was ultimately unsatisfying - I would like to read more from her though)
34. The Beggar's Throne by David Falconieri (I love Edward IV so I was hoping this book would be better - it was middling)
35. Dared and Done: The Marriage of Elizabeth Barett Browning and Robert Browning by Julia Markus (this was a good book but a bit tedious - I have read ones on the Browinings I liked better - this one was good for the background of Elizabeth's family)
36.The Golden Warrior by Hope Muntz (a very good book about the Norman Invasion and William and Harold- I loved the way this was written)
37. Harold: The Last Anglo Saxon King by Ian Walker (a bit dry but fact filled)
38. Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert Massie (a re-read for my NaNoWriMo project - a great story)
39. The Last Empress by Greg King (great book on Alexandra - one of my favorites)
40. A Lifelong Passion (excerpts from the diaries and letters of Nicholas and Alexandra - great sourcebook)
41. Alexandra: The Last Tsarina by Carolly Erickson (be careful with this one - she is a bit loose with her facts and sources)

I also have three books in progress - one about the abdication of Edward VIII, one about Anne Boylen and one about Rasputin - all non-fiction.

So this year I read 41 books (that I kept track of) which beats last year when I read something like 35, although those books were on average longer I think. The general trend this year was more fiction (mostly historical), a few throwaway fluff reads and fanfiction, and a good helping of non-fiction books generally on royal subjects. (I highlighted the Princess Diana and Royal Family books as non-fiction alothough they really are at least half fiction.) Oberall this is a fairly good representation of what I like to read.

Happy New Year Everyone and Happy Reading in 2006!


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